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Conservation and Degradation of Energy

Conservation and Degradation of Energy in Grade 12 Physics

Conservation and Degradation of Energy

Energy is always conserved but it can be transformed into different forms. However, not all forms of energy can produce the same amount of work. Degradation of energy occurs when a given amount of energy is transformed from one form to another that can produce less work. Heat is the most common degrade form of energy.

Connection to Big Idea about forces: For the transformation and/or degradation of energy to occur, one or more forces need to act.

Connection to Big Idea about the universe: Energy is conserved throughout the Universe in all scales and all processes even the most extreme ones.

Connection to Big Idea about particles: Energy is conserved in every chemical and nuclear process. Energy can be degraded through such processes. Chemical and nuclear reactions can transform the binding energy of molecules and particles into usable formats and vice versa.

Connection to Big Idea about quantum: The conservation of energy applies even in the quantum world. Schrödinger’s equation, the main equation that describes the quantum world was constructed based on energy conservation.

Connection to Big Idea about evolution: One of the main parameters that determine the natural selection is the ability of the species to gain all of the energy supplies needed for their survival.

Connection to Big Idea about the cells: All cells require energy to function. The processes that occur in cells degrade other types of energy (like chemical energy) to heat.

Connection to Big Idea about Earth: The planet has a limited amount of new renewable energy. The constant degradation of energy from other forms to heat, affect the climate of our planet. Our ability to meet the world’s energy needs without destroying the planet on which we live is one of the most crucial issues of humanity.

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